Lasers are primarily used as pointers, and green lasers are no exception. Astronomers value this colored laser because of its long distance range, allowing them to easily point out stars on a moonless night. Business men and women use lasers of all colors to direct people’s attention to their presentation boards. In addition, green lasers are sometimes mounted onto guns to increase accuracy without making the gunman’s location obvious. As with most lasers, safety is a concern — green lasers in particular are often both dangerous and illegal.
Green lasers are used by astronomers to point out celestial bodies to other people. This type of laser is more effective for astronomical purposes than other colored lasers because of its power. Green lasers can be used for astronomy by hand or by attaching them to a telescope. The power of green laser pointers varies, but even weak lasers are more effective for astronomy than red or blue lasers.
Laser pointers can be used to direct attention during a presentation. For example, a green laser may be pointed toward words or pictures on a screen so an audience can follow along while someone is speaking. A presentation laser pointer can also double as a computer input device. Specialized controls and a small light emitting diode (LED) gives presenters extra control over a presentation while using a laser pointer.
Sometimes hikers carry lasers for safety and survival reasons. High-powered lasers are used to scare away large animals. They can also be used to shine into the air to increase the odds of being spotted by a rescue party. In at least one situation, a laser was key to finding lost party members in the woods because the dot of their laser was seen in the sky.
Firearm laser sights are lasers mounted to a firearm to give the shooter more accuracy. The first color used was red, but green lasers were made available after research suggested they are easier on a human’s eyes. Laser sights are usually on the expensive side, but some manufacturers give discounts to peace officers. The safety of attaching a green laser to a firearm is somewhat debated, especially because they pose a hazard to aircraft.
Green lasers should be purchased and used with caution. In some countries, importing a green laser for use as a pointer is illegal. The buyer must usually agree not to use the product for pointing, but not everyone reads disclaimers or instructions. Still, lasers are potentially dangerous and some people have been jailed for misusing them.